Unite has launched a workplace gambling charter, which has been created to provide a framework for employers and unions to assist workers who are having gambling problems.
It is estimated that problem gambling is costing the economy £1.2bn per year.
The charter offers practical support and information on how employers and unions can promote the health and wellbeing of their workers who are experiencing gambling related harm, reduce sickness and absence, and assist those who want or need to change their relationship with gambling.
Problem gamblers are 2.69 times more likely to have visited their GP with a mental health issue, 8.54 times more likely to be accessing mental health services, 5.53 times more likely to have been a hospital inpatient within the last three months and 4.4 times more likely to be in prison.
Several employers have already signed up the charter prior to its launch including: Blackpool Transport and Bolton at Home. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Gambling Commission are expected to sign in the coming weeks.
Unite head of education Jim Mowatt said, “This is an excellent initiative which is aimed at ensuring that problem gambling can be identified at an early stage and workers receive the support they need in the workplace.
“Problem gambling does not just affect an individual, but can have a devastating effect on families.
“By tackling the problem early the related problems of financial difficulties, relationship breakdowns, mental health issues and the loss of employment, can be minimised and avoided.
“This charter is good for employers as well as workers, by providing early support so that problems such as sickness absence will decrease and valued employees are more likely to be able to continue their employment.”